From secluded retreats in cloud-kissed mountains to beachfront havens caressed by warm Caribbean breezes, Panama’s hotel scene is as diverse as the nation itself. This S-shaped isthmus has accommodations that are history-steeped, design-forward, sustainable, elegant, and exceptionally easy on the eye. In no particular order, here are ten of the most beautiful hotels in Panama to feast your eyes on.
Featured image courtesy of Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo
Hotel La Compañia (Panama City)
Arguably the most majestic hotel in Panama City, Hotel La Compañia is the first Unbound by Hyatt property in Central America. This living museum honors Panama’s timeless history with exquisite rooms in three themed wings that are American, French, and Spanish. A selection of dining venues and bars will ensure you’ll never be hungry or bored while vintage posters, portraits, and paintings throughout will keep you entertained and informed.
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Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo (Panama City)
Introducing the latest addition to Sofitel’s prestigious line-up of legendary properties, gracing the world with its presence in early 2022. The brand is known for preserving historical locations and transforming them into luxury cultural getaways that reflect the character of the region. A former social club, this particular property has been renovated to incorporate the country’s Spanish and French past, maintaining the original French architecture. Sofitel Legend Casco Viejo has a prized location as the only waterfront hotel in the old town.
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Azul Paradise (Bocas del Toro)
Azul Paradise is a dreamy over-the-water resort tucked on a secluded beach on Isla Bastimentos. Here, one may unashamedly binge on all the blessings the water brings: fresh seafood caught by the on-site staff, decks stretched out onto the water for night stargazing as well as uninterrupted access to non-motorized water toys (pedalos, kayaks, and paddleboards). The bungalows all have glass floors to view the kaleidoscopic marine life below right from the comfort of your island bed.
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JW Marriott Panama (Panama City)
With its towering presence and sleek design, JW Marriott is one of the most recognizable (and iconic) buildings adorning Panama City’s skyline. This signature property is shaped like a fully deployed sail and it’s in the plush Punta Pacifica neighborhood. As the tallest building in Central America, it’s no surprise that the views from the pool on the 66th floor are nothing short of breathtaking.
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La Coralina Island House (Bocas del Toro)
You might think you’ve arrived in Indonesia when stepping into La Coralina Island House. This Bali-inspired beachfront hotel is out-of-this-world gorgeous with airy villas and rooms (all have balconies), an infinity pool, an open-air fusion restaurant, and crucially, the most comprehensive spa in all of Bocas del Toro. La Coralina is unquestionably one of the most beautiful hotels in Panama.
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American Trade Hotel (Panama City)
American Trade Hotel is a charming building restored to perfection while maintaining its Old-Word feel. The 50-room boutique property in Casco Viejo’s Plaza Herrera has a grand reading room where guests may enjoy Hemingway in the afternoon and a glass of wine in the evening. Up a picturesque set of stairs is the rooftop pool which invokes St. Tropez-like elegance in the middle of the old town. This is one of the finest hotels in the city.
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Nayara Bocas del Toro (Bocas del Toro)
Live out your luxury water bungalow fantasies at Nayara Bocas del Toro. Choose a bungalow with a glass bottom floor or with a swimming pool to teeter over the Caribbean Sea in privacy. Or, opt for an Ibuku Island Treehouse that’s made with reclaimed hardwood from the depths of the Panama Canal. Sustainability isn’t an afterthought at Nayara (it’s solar-powered and uses rainwater catchment systems), and nature takes center stage with rich colors all around.
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Isla Palenque Resort (Boca Chica)
Isla Palenque Resort by Cayuga Collection feels like the Garden of Eden. At this 400-acre resort in the Gulf of Chiriquí on Panama’s Pacific coast, guests lodge in deliciously private casitas (there are eight in total) that are all named after adventure novels. Spend your precious time here birding, whale watching (from August to October), hammocking, or hanging out on the seven superb beaches.
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Central Hotel (Panama City)
A stone’s throw from the presidential palace in Casco Viejo, Central Hotel is steeped in history as the oldest hotel in the city. It’s elegantly decorated and has a spa, a 24-hour gym, and a rooftop pool. Count Ferdinand de Lesseps and Theodore Roosevelt are among the previous guests. Don’t miss the piano serenades in the lobby.
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Sol Bungalows (Bocas del Toro)
On the blissfully wild and remote island of Isla Solarte, Sol Bungalows is a visually pleasing bungalow resort backed by verdant rainforest. It’s just minutes away by boat from some of Bocas del Toro’s best surf breaks like Black Rock and Carenero Point, the spot where the US-Swiss couple that runs the resort met. Jungle hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, and sport fishing adventures are up for grabs, but if you choose to stay put on the resort, you can busy yourself with in-bungalow massages, dining at the two-story restaurant with seasonal, locally sourced produce, or swaying on your deck hammock to take in Bocas’ much-loved sunsets.
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This was a guest post by Rosie Bell (@thebeachbell), author of ‘Escape to Self‘ and creator of the location independence education platform DiscoverySessions.io. Have an article, idea, opinion, tips, or just about anything else Panama-related you would like to write about on PTY Life? Become a guest writer like Rosie by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.